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United States sweep past Europe on opening day

Hosts take three-point lead after first day action in Solheim Cup

Image Credit: USA TODAY
USA golfer Danielle Kang reacts after making a putt on the 18th hole to win the match during the first round.
Gulf News

Los Angeles: The United States swept all four fourball matches to surge to a three-point lead over Europe on Friday, the first day of the Solheim Cup women’s golf matches.

The Americans’ afternoon surge at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa marked the first time in the history of the Ryder Cup-style competition that the US have swept an entire session — something Europe has done three times.

Europe held a slim 2 1/2 to 1 1/2 lead at the end of the morning foursomes, but the Americans head into Saturday’s matches leading 5 1/2 to 2 1/2.

It was a dominant display. Europe never led at any point in any fourball match.

Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller finished it off with a 2 & 1 victory over Charley Hull and Georgia Hall — both of England — the tightest match of the afternoon.

Hull chipped in at the 15th to put some late pressure on the Americans, but Lewis rolled in a birdie putt at 17 to finish it.

Angel Yin and Lizette Salas thumped Spain’s Carlota Ciganda and Denmark’s Emily Pedersen 6 & 5.

Michelle Wie and Danielle Kang beat Sweden’s Madelene Sagstrom and England’s Jodi Ewart Shadoff 3 & 1.

Brittany Lincicome and Brittany Lang beat Florentyna Parker of England and Germany’s Caroline Masson 3 & 2.

The United States, captained by Juli Inkster, are defending the title they won with a thrilling final-day charge in 2015.

Salas and Solhiem Cup newcomer Kang produced the United States’ only win of the morning foursomes, beating Ciganda and Masson 1 up before going on to win again with different partners.

Kang thrived in the more rowdy atmosphere of the team competition, clearly enjoying the enthusiasm of the galleries.

Europe lead early

But the visitors gained the first advantage.

Scotland’s Catriona Matthew, pressed into action when Norwegian Suzann Pettersen withdrew from the European team on Wednesday with a back injury, teamed with France’s Karine Icher for a 1 up foursomes win over Lewis and Piller.

“I was super-nervous at the start but I always enjoy this event,” said the 47-year-old Matthew, who now has 20 Solheim Cup points on her resume. “It doesn’t matter how many of these you play in, you are always going to be nervous but I managed to get over that.”

Icher’s hot putter was a big help.

She drained a 40-footer for birdie at the 13th that cut the US lead in their match to 1 up and her birdie at the 14th squared the match.

She and Matthew took their first lead at the 16th hole, Icher sinking the short par putt to take the hole.

In other morning results, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and Hall never trailed en route to a 3 & 1 victory over Paula Creamer and Austin Ernst.

The English duo of Mel Reid and Hull halved their match with Cristie Kerr and Lexi Thompson.

Kerr and Thompson seized the lead at the opening hole, but the Europeans battled back to go 1 up at the fifth. Hull’s chip-in for birdie at the 16th put the European duo 2 up, but the Americans won the 17th with a par and Kerr drained a birdie putt at the 18th to halve the match.

“We made a huge par on 17, and sometimes all you need in this format is just a little bit of momentum,” Kerr said — and the Americans had momentum in spades after their afternoon romp.

 

Scores

Friday’s matches

United States 5 1/2 Europe 2 1/2

Foursomes

United States 1 1/2 Europe 2 1/2

Mel Reid/Charley Hull (ENG) v Cristie Kerr/Lexi Thompson (USA) halved

Danielle Kang/Lizette Salas (USA) bt Carlota Ciganda (ESP)/Caroline Masson (GER) 1 up

Anna Nordqvist (SWE)/Georgia Hall (ENG) bt Paula Creamer/Austin Ernst (USA) 3 & 1

Karine Icher (FRA)/Catriona Matthew (SCO) bt Stacy Lewis/Gerina Piller (USA) 1 up

Fourball

United States 4 Europe 0

Michelle Wie/Danielle Kang (USA) bt Madelene Sagstrom (SWE)/Jodi Ewart Shadoff (ENG) 3 & 1

Angel Yin/Lizette Salas (USA) bt Carlota Ciganda (ESP)/Emily Pedersen (DEN) 6 & 5

Brittany Lincicome/Brittany Lang (USA) bt Florentyna Parker (ENG)/Caroline Masson (GER) 3 & 2

Stacy Lewis/Gerina Piller (USA) bt Charley Hull (ENG)/Georgia Hall (ENG) 2 & 1

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